FRAMINGHAM, MASS. –
IDC is reporting it expects year-over-year harddisk- drive (HDD) shipments to increase despite the devastating natural disasters that crippled the category in 2011.
The research firm is forecasting a 7.7 percent increase in worldwide shipments for 2012, compared with the 4.5 percent drop that took place in 2011. IDC stated the compound annual growth rate for the HDD segment will be 9.6 percent for the period 2011 to 2016.
2011 shipments were impacted by the massive flooding in Thailand that effectively shut down Western Digital and Seagate’s HDD manufacturing facilities for the fourth quarter. Production has restarted, but it is anticipated it will not reach its former level until later this year.
The dearth of HDD drives pushed HDD prices up for the first time in several years. IDC said vendors have taken advantage of the supply shortage to reset prices and recover some of the price erosion that took place over the last three years.
IDC expects year-over-year revenue growth to approach $50 billion by 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.6 percent for the years 2011 to 2016. Reaching this number will depend upon PC vendors successfully incorporating hybrid hard-disk solid-state drives into the market, IDC said.
Implementing hybrid drives will be a challenge for vendors, IDC said. While solid-state drives offer faster data-transfer rates and use less power, they are considerably more costly. Hybrid drives deliver some of the benefits of an SSD at a lower cost, but HDD makers have to convince their PC counterparts that incorporating these drives is a cost-effective solution to improving PC performance.
Another trend noted by IDC is a shift in HDD usage. IDC said PCs will fall behind personal/home storage devices and enterprise-class servers as the primary device absorbing HDD production. This trend is taking place as computing enters the Cloud phase, where consumers store the majority of their content on a centralized device and access it with their smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.